David Biello, on the Scientific American (or “Scientific” American) blog, had comments about nuclear power ("Nuclear Loses Its Cool"). He wondered how nuclear power plants could ever be a solution to global warming, if they had trouble staying cool during heat waves. That whole train of thought contains more nonsense than I’m willing to spend time on…but I did point out to him that he provided no statistical evidence to back up his concern, and even misreported one of the anecdotes he used to support his case.
Specifically, he wrote: "The results of this can be seen at American Electric Power's Cook plant in Michigan where temperatures in the control room reached 120 degrees F.”
The problem with his reporting of the event is that the Reuters article that he hyperlinked to does NOT say that the temperatures in “control room” reached 120 degrees F.
If the Reuters article HAD said that, anyone who knows anything about nuclear power plants and their operation would say, “What the #%$*?!”…because having nuclear power plant workers working in a control room that is even above 85 degrees is a very serious situation. People who are hot make mistakes. I can not even conceive of a situation wherein a control room at a nuclear power plant that was online (i.e., supplying power to the grid) would be allowed to get above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, let alone up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit! A utility that allowed such operation should--and almost certainly would--be run over hot coals by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission!
What the Reuters article actually says is, “ A spokesman for the Columbus, Ohio-based company said the unit was shut down because the temperature in the containment room(sic) reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), exceeding allowable levels."
"Containment room." NOT "control room!"
(Obviously. Anyone who actually knows anything at all about nuclear power would
know that it wasn't the "control room" that got up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit!")
"The thing is, I and other person pointed out David Biello's (obvious!) blunder, but he seems utterly incapable of recognizing it. (This is a man who is an editor at Scientific
"Containment room." NOT "control room!" (Obviously. Anyone who actually knows anything at all about nuclear power would know that it wasn't the "control room" that got up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit!") "The thing is, I and other person pointed out David Biello's (obvious!) blunder, but he seems utterly incapable of recognizing it. (This is a man who is an editor at Scientific American!)
Instead of saying, "Thanks for pointing out that obvious blunder. I don't know how I could make such an obvious mistake!" David Biello responded with:
"I am confused about one thing: is there something unclear in my sentence that leads some to believe that I am confusing a containment room and a control room? I was trying to point to two different (but connected) problems related to heat that nuclear power plants were suffering. Perhaps it was merely proximity? Or perhaps I should have further explained the cooling mechanics of such a power plant? Anyway, it's an interesting writing question for me."